Mexican Lasagna Recipe with Noodles

We decided that our Mexican lasagna recipe is destined for posting as our letter L entry in the Blogging from A to Z challenge this month!  L is for lasagna--with a Mama's Corner of the World twist!

Sometimes I'm in the mood for Mexican. Maybe burritos sound good, but with two little kids, I'm neither in the mood to build the burrito nor clean up the mess. I needed a casserole style dish that I could prepare ahead, serve easily, and clean up without calling in a haz mat team!

I have looked at other Mexican Lasagna recipes, and we've tried several. Many with tortillas replacing the noodles...some with cheese, some without...some with ground beef, some with chicken. I wasn't really in the mood for any of them, so, as usual, I made up my own thing!

This is a little labor intensive, but it is worth it!

Ingredients for Mexican Lasagna with Noodles and Cheese

Sauce Ingredients:

Olive Oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey or crumbled tofu
1/2 c. diced yellow onion or green onions with green tops
1 large stalk of celery with green leaves-chopped
3/4 c. finely chopped carrots
1 tsp. bottled garlic or 1 clove of garlic minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. water or vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 16 oz. jar of medium salsa

Mexican Lasagna Filling Ingredients 
1 c. lowfat cottage cheese
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
1 c. 2% or reduced fat Monterey Jack or Mexican Blend shredded cheese
1 egg or the equivalent in an egg substitute
9 Lasagna Noodles, cooked and drained

Topping Suggestions:
1/2 c. shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
sliced black olives (optional)
chopped green onions with tops (optional)
jalapeno peppers (optional)
seeded, chopped tomatoes (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Instructions for Making Mexican Lasagna

Prepare the sauce.  Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet or dutch oven. Crumble the ground turkey or tofu into the heated oil and cook until the ground turkey is no longer pink. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery to the meat and continue cooking until the vegetables become tender (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. of the liquid to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Next add the cumin, chilli powder, salt and pepper and mix the spices into the meat mixture completely. Add the remaining liquid and the jar of salsa. Stir in the beans and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or the mixture is heated through and begins to thicken. Set aside.

Prepare the Mexican lasagna filling. Completely blend the cottage cheese and the sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add in the parmesan cheese and the monterey jack cheese, combine well. Mix in the beaten egg.

Assemble the Mexican Lasagna.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin by spraying a 9x11 or 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1 1/2 cups of the sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread evenly. Make a layer of three noodles. Then divide the remaining sauce into thirds and the cheese filling in half. Layer 1/3 of the meat mixture and 1/2 the cheese filling next over the noodle layer. Be sure to spread each layer evenly. Follow with a second layer of noodles, another layer of meat sauce, and the remaining cheese filling. Follow again with a layer of noodles and top with the remaining meat sauce.

Bake and serve.  Bake the lasagna covered at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover, top with 1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares. Top with your favorite taco toppings!

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